Game Developers Conference

Improbable draws $502 million from SoftBank and others for dream of giant online game worlds

How’s this for improbable?

Online gaming world enabler Improbable has raised $502 million in a second round of investors, including SoftBank. Improbable has created an operating system, SpatialOS, that marshals the power of cloud computing and distributed platforms to enable even small studios to develop games with giant worlds.

The London-based company showed off a few of those games at the recent Game Developers Conference (GDC).

Above: Bossa Studios’ Worlds Adrift

Image Credit: Bossa Studios

CEO Herman Narula told me in an interview at the time that the company has launched its open beta for SpatialOS.

Developers working on SpatialOS-based games include Worlds Adrift, the upcoming game from Bossa Studios; Chronicles of Elyria by Soulbound Studios, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game built with the Unreal engine; Seed by Klang, a game of planetary settlement set in a shared, persistent world, created by a team including former senior CCP (Eve Online) employees; Lazarus by Spilt Milk Studios, a multiplayer top-down 2D shooter set in a huge galaxy populated by artificially intelligent alien factions locked in a war for territory; and Vanishing Stars: Colony Wars by Ninpo Game Studio, a new type of massively multiplayer real-time strategy game, played across thousands of star systems, each with their own planets to battle on.

Deep Nishar of SoftBank has joined the Improbable board following this investment, which sees SoftBank taking a non-controlling stake in the company. Earlier investors Andreessen Horowitz, Horizons Ventures and Temasek Holdings also participated. Improbable had received $20 million in a first round of funding from Andreessen Horowitz in March 2015.

Solina Chau, founder of Horizons Ventures, said in a statement,…

AR/VR Weekly: Don’t doubt virtual reality

Virtual reality is here to stay — shove your doubts aside.

Last year, we saw a couple of mood shifts on the VR scene. It was up — meteoric, really — as consumer solutions rolled out from HTC, Oculus, and Sony. Games and other entertainment experiences came out on a steady drumbeat, and some like Owlchemy Labs’ Job Simulator found fame and fortune.

But VR entered a “trough of disillusionment” hit at the end of the year, spilling over into early 2017. How’s it going now? GamesBeat turned to Dennis Scimecca, who’s been covering the emerging VR game industry, to dive deep into the scene at the recent Game Developers Conference. In his interviews and reports from numerous sessions, we find an industry that’s looking ahead and, instead of trying to find where it fits, it’s looking for how to grow into its own thing — and this, it appears, will rest on the people making games and experiences for VR.

One of my favorite parts of this how even the best designers are still learning how to move VR development forward. Carrie Witt of Owlchemy said that “Believability is more important than fidelity,” while others talked about how they’re moving forward on, well, movement.

The VR scene remains vibrant. And now, the people making games are full of confidence. And so are we.

–Jason Wilson, GamesBeat managing editor

P.S. Last week’s discussion at GamesBeat Summit about the future of augmented reality.

From GamesBeat

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